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Top 10 Places To Visit In Ireland

Updated on April 14, 2016
Dublin City - Capital City of Ireland
Dublin City - Capital City of Ireland | Source

What Are The Top 10 Places To Visit In Ireland?

If you are want to know the best places to visit in Ireland then hopefully I can point you in the right direction. I was born right beside the famous Giant's Causeway in a small town called Ballycastle which is in the very North of Ireland. In my many years I have travelled all across Ireland and I think I can safely say that I have visited every county and seen just about everything there is to see.

I would like to share that knowledge with you so as you can make the absolute most out of your vacation and holiday to the beautiful island of Ireland. If you have been before then you will know what I am talking about and if this is going to be your first visit, then boy are you in for a treat.

In this article I will give you to start with some useful and general information which will help you with your visit and then I shall tell you about what I think are the ten best places to visit in Ireland. In June 2014 we had some wonderful Canadian friends stay with us in Ireland for a couple of weeks. I took them to all of these and they loved the sights and for us it was great to visit them all again.

All Pictures: Taken by my own Canon Camera

Take The Tour Bus When In Dublin

Dublin Tour Bus
Dublin Tour Bus | Source

Things You Should Know When Planning A Visit to Ireland

Ireland and Northern Ireland

Ireland as you probably know is a small island in the extreme west of Europe and sits beside Britain which is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. Ireland is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and by the Irish Sea on its eastern side.

Ireland is divided into 32 counties. 6 of these counties form what is called Northern Ireland and the remaining 26 counties make up what is known as the Republic of Ireland.

My main reason for mentioning this is that in the Republic of Ireland the Euro currency is used and in Northern Ireland the £ sterling is used. That is because Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and uses their currency.

Weather in Ireland

I just wanted to give a quick mention about the weather in Ireland. It rains a lot and is very unpredictable so always have some type of rainproof coat or umbrella with you. Generally speaking the warmest months are from June to September.

Despite it being warm enough a rain shower is always a possibility so be prepared.

Top 10 Cities to Visit in Ireland

  1. Dublin - Capital City
  2. Belfast - Capital City of Northern Ireland
  3. Galway - beautiful musical city in the west of Ireland
  4. Waterford - home of the famous Waterford crystal
  5. Cork City
  6. Limerick
  7. Kilkenny
  8. Derry (Northern Ireland)
  9. Armagh (Northern Ireland)
  10. Newry (Northern Ireland)

The Amazing Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway
Giant's Causeway

Top Places To Visit in Ireland

My Opinion of Places in Ireland Not to Miss

Like anything else everyone's opinion would be slightly different so these are simply my opinions. As I explained in the introduction I was born in Ireland and have travelled all over Ireland. Ireland is not that large an island at about 300 miles in length and 100 miles wide.

You can see from this that you can easily visit all ten of these places in a week (a busy week) but it can be done. If you have more time then you can do this in a more relaxed way.

So here is my top 10 list of the best places to visit in Ireland (In no particular order)

1 The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

2 Trinity College Dublin

3 Giant's Causeway

4 Bushmill's Distillery

5 Cliffs of Moher

6 Galway and the Aran Islands

7 Killarney National Park

8 The Ring of Kerry

9 Saint Patrick's Cathedral

10 Bunratty Castle

In the remainder of this article I will tell you why I have picked each of these. There are many other great things to see and do but if I had to pick my top ten this is what they would be.

St James Gate

Guinness Factory in Dublin
Guinness Factory in Dublin | Source

Fodors Irish Traveller's Guide

Fodor's Ireland 2013 (Full-color Travel Guide)
Fodor's Ireland 2013 (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodors do features really well with great images. They also review restaurants in Ireland very well indeed.

 

The Guinness Storehouse

In Dublin City Ireland

I think just about everyone in the world has heard of Guinness. However until you have been to Dublin and tasted a pint of Guinness there, then honestly you have never enjoyed the amazing taste of a great quality pint of Guinness.

Referred to in Ireland as "The Black Stuff" you really do have to visit St James the home of Guinness and watch it being brewed and made. It is a great tour and at the end of it you get a fresh pint of the black stuff to see you on your way.

Video Tour of The Guinness Storehouse in St James' Street Dublin

A good video that gives you a sample of what you will see when you take the main tour. The tour lasts for around 2 hours and you get a free pint of Guinness as part of your ticket price.

Frommer's Ireland Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Full Size)
Frommer's Ireland Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Full Size)

Great for up to date information especially shopping, tours and nightlife

 

Trinity College Dublin - Home to the Book of Kells

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin | Source

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and when you are there then I would strongly recommend a visit to the famous Trinity College. If for no other reason, a visit to trinity College will allow you to see the world famous "Book of Kells" which is kept there. That alone makes this visit a priceless memory.

This college was founded in 1592 and is styled around the famous universities of Cambridge and Oxford in England. You will find Trinity College at College Green in Dublin and i is still a working university.

The library there is truly amazing and contains over 4 million books, maps and music. It is in there that you will be able to see what I think remains the most beautiful book in the world. You can also do a tour of the campus and I found this an enjoyable thing to do.

In there you can also see the:

Douglas Hyde Gallery

Oscar Wilde Centre

Samuel Becekket Theatre

Science Galleries

Your Chance To See The Most Popular Book In The World - The Book of Kells

This short video gives the history of the beautiful Book of Kells. It is worth a watch if you are planning on going to see this book which is located in the main library in Trinity College Dublin.

Back Roads Ireland (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)
Back Roads Ireland (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)

This book contains 25 different themed drives and is perfect if you are planning on using a car

 

Visit The Giant's Causeway in Ireland

I Call This God's Country

I am biased here as I was brought up and raised in a small town called Ballycastle just about 6 miles from the world famous Giant's Causeway. It has been, is and will be one of my favourite places to visit as there is something magical and mysterious about a visit to the Causeway in Ireland. In 2013 a new Causeway Centre was opened and I have to stay they have done a fantastic job. There is a small cafe inside and the coffee and food are very good.

Millions of tourists make this trip every year and take in the breath taking beauty of this National Heritage site. If you come to Ireland please do not miss out on this experience. The causeway is located on the North Coast of County Antrim and nearby you will find Dunluce Castle, the Bushmill's Distillery famous the world over for its whiskey and you can also take a tour through the scenic beauty of The green Glens of Antrim.

Quick Video Tour of The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland - Enjoy this brief tour of the World Famous Giant's Causeway

This video talks about both fact and legend including the Giant we love called Finn McCool

Miss This And The Fairies Will Get you

The Bushmills Whisky Factory

Bushmill's Distillery
Bushmill's Distillery

Bushmill's Distillery

Olde Bushmills, Black Bush and Much More

They have been making the best Irish whiskey here for many hundreds of years and when you are visiting the nearby Giant's Causeway then only a few minutes away you can find out for yourself just how good this whiskey really is.

It opened in 1608 and it claims to be the oldest distillery and there is some validity in that claim. There is a visitor's centre there which is pretty good and full of useful information.

The tour does include a tasting so you get to taste the Irish nectar. I like the 12 year old whiskey myself as it has matured well and tastes fantastic. That is only available at the distillery so if you visit that is the one I would recommend.

Video Explanation of Bushmill's Distillery - 110,000 Visitors Come Here Every Year

I have been on this tour twice and this video gives you just a small sample of what you will see when you take the tour for yourself.

The Cliffs of Moher

Amazing Scenic Location in The West of Ireland

I still remember to this day the very first time we approached the Cliffs of Moher. I was around 14 years of age at the time and I had been dragged reluctantly on yet another tour with my parents around the rugged coast of West Ireland.

If you remember being 14 then you will probably understand why sightseeing is not actually that much fun. The only thing I wanted to do at 14 was play football and look at girls. Being stuck in the back of a Morris Oxford car looking at scenery was not at the top of my list.

Even with that I do remember seeing these amazing cliffs for the first time and they actually made me sit up and take notice. You simply can't help but be stunned at their natural and quite amazing beauty.

Some Amazing Views of The Cliffs of Moher Captured in Stunning Video

Have a watch if you love rustic scenic seaside beauty. These are some of the best cliff scenes that I have ever witnessed.

Galway & The Aran Islands

The True Feel of Ireland

You can travel all over Ireland but for me Galway and the Aran Islands is what I would describe as the real Ireland. You have the stone ditches, green fields, the roaring sea smashing against the rocks, speakers of the native Irish language and the best Irish music that you will find anywhere.

So in one place you get real Irish food, drink and music almost anywhere you go in Galway.

if you want to see the real Island people then jump in a boat and sail out to the Aran islands and you will get a sense of living that has been there for years and remains relatively unchanged. It is without doubt in my mind one of the best things to do.

Real Life On The Aran Islands - Food, Drink and Music As You Have Never Known It

Irish is the main language spoken on these Aran Islands. Saint Enda came from here so I thought I would give him a mention as my own name is Enda and I can therefore claim some heritage from these rugged and harsh islands. The irish version of the name Enda is Eanna which simple means a bird.

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

Make Sure You Visit Here

If you like lakes, waterfalls, mountains, wild life and natural beauty then place the Killarney National Park very high on your to do list.

Right at the centre of the park sits Muckross House and Gardens and I would strongly recommend that you take a look at that as well. This is a 19th Century Mansion and retains all of the furnishings and characteristics of that period. Bring your camera as you will be taking a lot of photographs.

I found the best way to see most of this park was to cycle though you can walk this if you are young, fit and active. Personally I prefer to hire a bicycle and do it that way. You can rent bicycles in nearby Killarney town.

There are numerous boat trips available so plan ahead and if you can afford them there are also horse drawn jaunting cars. Personally I found these really very expensive. If you have the money then do it as it is a one-off experience that you will likely never do again.

Discover Killarney National Park - Through The Eyes of Tourists

Various tourists visiting the National Park are asked their thoughts and opinions on what they have seen.

My Lady's View Killarney

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry | Source

The Ring of Kerry

Amazing Drive of Beauty

You need to do this in a car or bus. By car is better as you can stop and click, stop and eat or just stop whenever you want. It is a tough enough drive though so if you are unsure then jump on the many bus tours available. It takes all day to do and complete this trip.

The "Ring of Kerry" is a well known tourist trail and is about a 100 mile drive through areas of outstanding natural beauty. There are also many walks there including my own favourite "The Kerry Way." (Bring water and a lunch) There is also a very good cycle drive for those who prefer that.

If you like to drive, then I promise you it is a drive that you will never forget as long as you live. (Just remember we drive on the left hand side of the road) You will eventually come to what is known as Connor Pass and that is the scariest part of the drive. Don't worry I have seen caravans doing this so it can be accomplished just drive carefully. The road is narrow, winding and up into the mountains.

Buses also do this and they have right of way always so please remember this. It is impossible for them to turn so you will have to give way to them.

It is well worth it when you get there. (Don't look down if you are nervous)

Video Drive of The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a great drive but you really do need to be very careful. The roads are very narrow with sharp bends and don't forget in Ireland you drive on the left hand side of the road. The steering wheel is always located on the right hand side if you plan on renting a car.

Video Drive of Connor's Pass In The Ring of Kerry

St Patrick's Cathedral

St Patricks Cathedral Dublin
St Patricks Cathedral Dublin | Source

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick as you know is the patron Saint of Ireland. There are many myths about what St Patrick did and didn't do. There are also many places associated with St Patrick that you could visit. He was born in Downpatrick, buried in Armagh City and there are a few St Patrick Cathedrals.

The reason I picked this one out is that it is beautiful and is just an amazing place to see. if you have time I would also recommend a visit to the cathedral in Armagh. However if you are pushed for time then the one in Dublin would be my first choice.

Video tour of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin City

Bring your camera and video camera for this visit. There is something rather beautiful and relaxing about this cathedral in Dublin that you need to capture on video because it is hard to explain otherwise.

Bunratty Castle Ireland
Bunratty Castle Ireland

Bunratty Castle Ireland

Ireland has many castles but Bunratty Castle is my favourite of all of them. There is a nearby village/park (Bunratty Folk Park) that you can travel around and see how things were back in the day. It certainly makes for a fun day and I have included below a video of this tour.

Bunratty Castle still does mediaeval banquets and it is an amazing place to go and see. I would recommend bring a video to capture the memories and show them to people back home. It takes around 1-2 hours to take it all in and enjoy the experience.

Video Tour of Bunratty Castle - What A Cracking Place To Visit

Visit the old school house and see what things were like way back in 1835. I enjoyed the pottery workshop and was lucky enough on the day I visited to be able to have a go. (It was a disaster but fun all the same)

Video Tour of Bunratty Castle

Have Your Say - Takes Just A Few Seconds

St George's Market Belfast
St George's Market Belfast

St George's Market Belfast Northern Ireland

This short poll aims to capture the main reason people choose to visit Ireland

Picture: A quick picture of me at St George's Market in Belfast chatting with a friend

Why Did or Why Would You Plan To Visit Ireland?

See results

Great Pictures of Ireland - My Top 10 Pictures of Ireland

Lunch in Ireland
Lunch in Ireland

What Lunch Looks Like In Ireland

There are many other places to see, things to do and places to visit. I have included these in picture format below and I hope that you find them enjoyable.

Let's start with Lunch in Ireland

Picture Credits: I have taken all of these pictures of Ireland on my various tours

Cushendall - Green Glens of Antrim

Cushendall
Cushendall

Belleek Pottery - This Is the Factory Where Belleek China is Made

Belleek Pottery Factory in Ireland
Belleek Pottery Factory in Ireland

Carrick A Rede Ropebridge - Not Recommended for the Feint of Heart

Carrick A Rede Ropebridge
Carrick A Rede Ropebridge

Irish Harpist in Dublin City - Busking - Dublin Style

Irish Harpist in Dublin City
Irish Harpist in Dublin City

Dunluce Castle - North Antrim Coast

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle

Close to the Giant's Causeway this is well worth the walk down towards the coast to see it. Many a tragic tale has been told about this castle.

North Antrim Coast - Wild and Free

North Antrim Coast
North Antrim Coast

Temple Bar in Dublin - Big Entertainment Area in Dublin City

Temple Bar in Dublin
Temple Bar in Dublin

If you are looking for night life then this is the place to go to in Dublin. It is expensive for drinks but there is also great entertainment here as well. Temple Bars is the "in place" to go in Dublin City.

Kilmainham Jail in Dublin - Many Films Made Using This Jail

Kilmainham Jail in Dublin
Kilmainham Jail in Dublin

Many films have been made using this jail. Probably the most well known was a film called "In The Name of The Father" and they used this jail for a good part of that film.

The history of this jail is fascinating and I would recommend taking the tour which lasts about half a day. I took this picture in 2011 on my last visit there.

Queens University in Belfast

Queens University in Belfast
Queens University in Belfast

One of the oldest universities in Ireland and well worth a visit if you time and you are in Belfast.

A Few Helpful Links To Ireland Information - These links go to other articles that I have written about Ireland

If you are planning on a visit to Ireland then I have written quite a lot about the Emerald Isle. Click on any link that you may think is helpful to read about the information there.

Cast your vote for Cat Litter Box

Have You Ever Been or Had A Wish To Visit Ireland?

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    • endamclarnon profile image
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      Enda McLarnon 3 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @Charito1962: And we would love to have you over here to enjoy our beautiful country

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hope to visit Ireland someday and see all these wonderful places!

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @tomoxby: Thanks Tom, believe me you would be made most welcome over here.

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @anonymous: Thank you very much indeed and I am delighted you enjoyed this article.

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @MissMalaprop: It is actually a small bridge but it is the drop straight into the ocean that is frightening. A great way to see all of Ireland is by bike and I am sure that you would love it.

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @Blonde Blythe: Thanks very much and it was great fun taking these pictures of Ireland

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 4 years ago from U.S.A.

      Wonderful lens! Love all the beautiful pictures!

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      That rope bridge looks amazing!

      I'd love to make it back with my boyfriend sometime. I didn't get a chance to see Dublin or any of Northern Ireland at all. And I think it would be great to go back in summertime and do a motorcycle trip around the Ring of Kerry / Dingle area!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      LOVE this lens, Ireland is a great place for vacations!

    • profile image

      tomoxby 4 years ago

      I have always wanted to visit Ireland, particularly the Ring of Kerry which is a great cycling route. Love your pictures.of the Emerald Isle.

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 4 years ago from Valencia, California

      truly a great lens, thanks for sharing all this information and beautiful pictures

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @john1581: Yes there is John and a lot of similarities in the music for sure.

    • profile image

      john1581 4 years ago

      Ireland is an island like Newfoundland. There is a lot of Irish on this island

    • endamclarnon profile image
      Author

      Enda McLarnon 4 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      @Gypzeerose: Thank you and if you ever have any questions just ask and I will be more than happy to try to answer them

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      My sister loved Ireland - I pinned this lens to my travel board because I want to go to.